The first series, which is still available here on My5, won the Broadcast award for best pre-school programme earlier this year, plus the Voice of the Listeners and Viewers Award for best children’s programme, and it has just been nominated for best Live Action Kids’ programme for the Content Innovation Awards 2022 and best pre-school programme at the RTS North West awards.
The show, designed for children follows Don Warrington as Grandpa as he tried to make sense of the world for his junior audience.
Each show, just 15-minutes long tackles a new question from his four Grandchildren Stanley, Connie, Louie or Poppy – from how planes fly to why the sea is salty and how the world is round.
Grandpa spins them into a nonsensical fun tales, with the help of Sally Lindsay as Halifax the rabbit, of outer-space bumblebees, piggy rock bands, rhubarb-loving monsters, cloud pilots, and fire-breathing hamsters.
With Series two due out on Channel 5 Milkshake! 15th October at 09:25, viewers young and old are in for more “guilt free viewing”.
Made in Manchester, the mixed media series, written by Chris Heath, features live action stars in a 2D animated world, as well as music by North West composer Tayo Akinbode, is filmed at Vectar Studios Stockport and illustrated and animated by Flix Facilities at MediaCityUK. ‘The World According to Grandpa’ is a truly inclusive show featuring a diverse team both in front and behind the camera.
I LOVE MCR caught up with series producer Rima Sen to talk about the new series and what it means to be making shows in Manchester.
For those unfamiliar with the show, can you surmise what it’s all about for our readers please?
So, The World According to Grandpa is a mixture of live action, animation and puppetry.
It’s a pre-school show aimed at kids from 3-8 and series two will have 20 11 minute episodes.
It centres around Grandpa (played by Don Warrington) with different grandchildren on his sofa each week, asking him questions like ‘why is the sky blue?’ or ‘why do cats go out at night?’ Stuff like that, that most children will ask.
However Grandpa answers these questions with absolute zany nonsense, and takes the kids on a magical journey, introducing them to crazy characters and strange places. He totally makes the answers up effectively.
At this point in time, Halifax the rabbit (Sally Lindsay) who accompanies them on these journeys, jumps in to set the record straight with the actual science, engineering or maths behind the questions – and tells them the truth.
So basically the show is a bit of fun, with a bit of learning
Halifax will explain the real reason – so the show is also educational, not just complete nonsense. She gives the science, history, geography that ties into the initial question.
All of the questions are tied to STEM subjects, lots of science and Engineering and maths questions.
Fun with a bit of learning is the basic premise.
Filmed at Vectar Studios in Stockport, Animated by Flix Facilities, post production at Core post and the score composed by Tayo Akinbode – it’s a Manchester through and through production – it seems as through there’s a lot of talent about in the City!
Things have changed now, there’s so much talent in Manchester and the North West. You don’t really need to look too far afield to get what you need to make a great production like this one!
This show is chock full with people from Manchester and the North West.
Executive producer, and MD of Saffron Cherry, Caroline Roberts Cherry is from Manchester – she’s been up here forever!
I’ve known her for years now. When we started working together on this production everyone was MCR based.
In series one it was only Don Warrington who was London based – everyone else was from the North West.
It’s always nice to be able to draw on your local region for as much talent as possible.
How did you come up with the idea?
Well the creator and writer Chris Heath, who worked in Manchester for years, his grandpa called Arturio is from Puerto Rico.
His Grandpa used to tell him these fantastic tall tales when he asked him questions. I think one of the episodes in season one – is based on a real question he asked him – “what are clouds for?”
His Grandpa told him they were for flying on to rescue sharks who were caught on land and had to be returned to the sea!
But I don’t think he reinforced them with any science at the end – Chris probably believed for years that they were for flying on to rescue beached sharks.
Chris actually wrote a series of books based on questions from children like nephews and nieces, and friend’s children. One of them is why is the sky blue.
He got chatting with Caroline about 7 years ago when he read her the story and they decided to try and adapt it as a children’s TV programme. About 6 years ago they filmed the pilot, and sent it to channel five.
They absolutely loved it so we applied for a grant with the BFI, who loved it too and gave us some money – and the rest as they say, is history.
What has the response to the show been like – it has won a lot of awards!
The reception to the show has been great so far. Series one had some fantastic viewing numbers and out performed a lot of the other channels at the same time.
Generally, very positive. The Sunday Times gave us a great review for the first few episodes of season two, and the Guardian described the show as ‘guilt free viewing’, which I think is complimentary.
Season one went out during Covid, so it was a nice thing to be able to entertain people as they were looking for content holed up at home.
What can we expect from season two?
In season two we can expect more questions from kids, more crazy stories from Grandpa that get more and more silly.
We’ve tried to make this season as inclusive as possible, we’ve introduced a deaf character – so we’ve been working with the British Sign Language association to make everyone feel welcome and represented in the show. We’ve tried to make the show as inclusive, diverse and accessible as possible.